I love Caprese salad.  The first time I tried it was several years back, enjoying dinner out with a friend.  It was extra special because it was made with heirloom tomatoes.  When our main course came, we just wanted more of the salad.  It was that good.  They also served an amazing Lavender Martini.  The restaurant was Stanley & Seafort's in Tacoma WA.

At the Farmers Market this week I picked up some basil and my favorite tomatoes from Rockhouse Farms.  But, this time I felt like pasta, not salad.  I wish I could include pics, it was so pretty.  I should have a camera soon.

Here's the recipe:

When I have the salad, I prefer whole basil leaves, but I thought a pesto would work best to coat the pasta.


1 1/2 cups of fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup pecans
3 T vegan Parmesan cheese
dash of kosher salt
1/2 extra virgin olive oil

OK, not traditional pesto, but that is what I had.  This is the first time I used pecans instead of pine nuts.  It was delicious.  Pecans are plentiful here and I always have them on hand.  I used my Ninja, adding everything but the olive oil, pureeing it, then slowly stirring in the olive oil until it was the right consistency.


4 servings whole wheat penne
4 large tomatoes (splurge and get the good ones)
1/4 c balsamic vinegar (approximately)
kosher salt

Cook the pasta in salted water as directed.  While cooking, dice tomatoes.  Place tomatoes in bottom of large pasta bowl.  Add pesto and balsamic and mix thoroughly.  Drain pasta and add to pasta bowl.  Mix and serve with Italian bread.  I like to roll several basil leaves and thinly slice them into slivers and sprinkle them on top.

I served this warm, just the heat from the pasta, but leftovers would have been equally good cold, if there had been any.

Fellow lovers of this salad might notice the absence of the fresh mozzarella, but I haven't found a suitable vegan  substitute for it, and honestly no one noticed.
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I've seen Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) in a lot of recipes, but I've been a little scarred of the stuff.  In it's dry form, straight out of the bulk food bin, it looks a lot like Grape Nuts.  However on a recent trip to the Health Food Store I decided to face my fears and grab some.

I quickly found myself needing a taco fix.  Perfect way to test the TVP.  Making it is easy enough.  I measured 1 cup of TVP into a mixing bowl and poured 1 cup of very hot water into it, stirred it, and covered it for 5 min.  After that I just used it as I would ground beef.

I sauteed some red onion, garlic and jalapeno in a little canola oil over medium heat.  Then, added the TVP and sauteed for a few minutes until onions were soft.  I added some homemade fresh salsa, Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime, taco sauce, garlic powder, cumin and salt to taste.  I was out of taco seasoning.  I then added about 1/2 cup of water, reduced the heat to low and let simmer for about 5 min.  This stuff tastes awesome.  Like taco meat without the grease.  So good.

I can't wait to try it in other things...sloppy joe's first.
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OK, some days are longer than others and today was exceptionally long.  I'm feeling a little better since I just self-medicated with some yummy coconut/almond milk homemade ice cream with chocolate sauce.  I definitely feel my mood improving.

I need more friends with teens.  Or am I simply not meant to understand?

Also, this picture of Marshmallow on Vegansaurus  could make anyone smile.
Though not pretty, this lentil soup was so good Callie and I ate it for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner until it was gone.  Amazing.  Now I want some more.

Classic Boca burger, vegan potato salad and tortilla chips.  Yummy!  We also enjoy the Morning Star burgers.  
I made this homemade granola several times ( I think I will again in the morning).  It is wonderful, especially with ice cold almond milk.  
Veggie pizza made on my pizza stone in my grill.  So delicious.
My first attempt at falafel.  A new family favorite!
This vegan Caesar was truly awe-inspiring.  The cookbook:  Clean Food.
Simple, comforting soup.  
Tempeh taco filling.  This was way better than anticipated.  So good and super fast to make.
Asparagus and Mushroom risotto with sauteed greens. I felt like I was eating out somewhere fancy.
Not quite tuna sandwiches.  Very nice in the summer.
Cheesecake, vegan cheesecake.  I cheated and used a prepared graham crust.  It was wonderful.  We ate it topped with cherries.
Burrito night! I made green chili sauce from scratch.  
Cinnamon Mochi.  This stuff is supper addictive!

Well, that's what we've been eating.  There was more, but it was consumed too quickly to get its picture taken.  Like Roasted red pepper and portabella paninis, Grilled "chicken and gnocci, homemade vegan sausages, baked beans and ice cream sandwiches...
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Wow, it seems when life gets interesting and busy, there is simply no time to write in a blog!

A lot has happened since my last post.  As a family we have finally made the plunge and are vegan, save the occasionally egg from our own well loved nuggets.  And even that may be changing soon.

Homeschool is out for summer, so theoretically I have more free time.

I have resumed knitting, thanks to a good friend who wanted to learn.  I'm about half way through a beautiful ruched scarf, but am disappointed in the quality of yarn.  I grabbed a cheap skein to use as instruction.  Oops.  Now I want to make the same pattern with new yarn.  There is a lady on etsy that makes yarn using bamboo and I'm thinking of ordering some soon.

My garden is dying.  Something is getting in and digging and eating with abandon.  We are down to the last 2 plants and nothing we do seems to stop it.  I wake up every morning to see more of my lovely plants destroyed. Devastating.

My camera is broke.  It was an accident, Brent is forgiven, but it will be awhile before pictures are on here again.

JT was gone two weeks in Albuquerque for work, yet I rarely slept alone.  My kids are sweet, what they don't realize is occasionally Mom likes to sleep in the center of the bed.

Callie spent a few days in Santa Fe for to see an Opera.  She had a great time.

Brent and I spent a wonderful day alone in Downtown El Paso checking out museums and art galleries.

There's more, but I think that's enough.

Oh, there's been laundry, lots of it.